Jeremiah: Lover of God’s People and Man of Prayer (3)

Lover of God’s People
As lover of God and his word, Jeremiah also loves God’s people. As God is for them, so also is God’s prophet for them, in word and in deed. Though they continue to ridicule him and forsake the LORD, while hewing out for themselves broken cisterns that can hold no water, Jeremiah pursues them in the steadfast love of the LORD.

Such love for God’s people even when they know not what they’re doing, provokes Jeremiah to grieve for them. “My joy is gone; grief is upon me; my heart is sick within me. Behold, the cry of the daughter of my people from the length and breadth of the land.” He expresses emotions of grief and sorrow for “the daughter” of his people. This language evokes deep ties in which he feels for his family—those who are following the stubbornness of their own hearts. “For the wound of the daughter of my people is my heart wounded; I mourn, and dismay has overtaken me.” This is love, that he feels their wound as if he himself was wounded. He knows his God, and the justice required by him. He also knows the steadfast love of the Lord endures forever. This is the love which pursues God’s people, even when it causes them to hurt.

Man of Prayer
For the man who knows God and whose heart beats for him, it is only natural that he breathes a life of prayer to him, even during nearly unbearable circumstances. Jeremiah’s prayers often consist of praise, complaint or confession, petitions of deliverance, intercession for God’s people, and petitions of understanding. Jeremiah’s “persecution and confusion over his role influenced his manner of communication (prayer, lament, and autobiography).”

As the prayerful prophet, Jeremiah unwaveringly depends on the God he knows and loves, and in whose word he delights. The following prayer is that in which Jeremiah prays for understanding: “Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you. You show steadfast love to thousands, but you repay the guilt of fathers to their children after them, O great and mighty God, whose name is the LORD of hosts, great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the children of man, rewarding each one according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds.” Such a prayer shows Jeremiah’s intimate knowledge of God and his love for him. The same prophet who cried out judgment on Judah, also interceded for them.

Conclusion
Jeremiah is like no other prophet in that the book in which he recorded his prophetic ministry, was more autobiographical in nature than that of any other prophet’s writing. From it, the reader gathers that Jeremiah knew God deeply, loved him passionately, delighted in his word constantly, loved his people, and prayed for them unwaveringly. Jeremiah is the persevering prophet who knew God and made it his mission to make him known.

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